Synonyms: Charcoal Feather Federation
Status: Finished Airing
Aired: Oct 10, 2002 to Dec 19, 2002
24 min. per episode
PG-13 - Teens 13 or older
L represents licensing company
Score: 8.121 (scored by 36270 users)
1 indicates a weighted score
drama fantasy mystery slice of life
SynopsisA dream of falling from the sky... and then birth. Rakka is born from a large cocoon into the Old Home, greeted by a group of females with small wings on their backs and shining halos above their heads. Soon Rakka's own wings grow, a halo is placed on her head and she is told that she must work in the nearby town of Grie. She soon realizes that the town and the entire world they live in are confined behind the Wall, a tall, impenetrable wall that none except the mysterious Toga are allowed to exit.
Related AnimeAdaptation: Old Home no Haibane-tachi
Characters & Voice Actors
An endless fall; a young girl wrapped in white abruptly descends from the skies. A weightless haze lucidly embraces her. A dream too real, a fall too sudden; awakens she, from a strange trance and finds herself confined in a vessel that’s all too familiar in place that’s all too peculiar. A craft in the form of a cocoon holds the enigmatic maiden—a strange rebirth is to take place. The inhabitants of the building in which the cocoon swiftly lies, await in great patience for the arrival of the girl in white.
Thus begins the hauntingly decorative tale of “Haibane Renmei”
Instantly, “Haibane Renmei’s” inquisitive nature provokes the viewer while simultaneously mesmerizing with an unsettling, yet evocative atmosphere. Aesthetically, Renmei is subtly similar to that of an aged watercolor painting with broad strokes and distinct backgrounds. Musically, the series charms with its mellifluous pieces that refine its forlorn and bittersweet atmosphere with poignancy and care. Thematically, it probes the audience to ruminate indefinitely. Combining all those elements and packaging them in an amicable manner, “Haibane Renmei” manages to weave together a captivating tale with unforgettable characters that will surely capture the hearts of those who give it an honest try.
The story is simple. The series traces the “new” life of Rakka in the quaint town of Glie that is enclosed off from the rest of the world by an impenetrable wall. The bucolic town is home to both humans and haibane—“beings” with halos and char-coal grey wings. Distinctive of something akin to angels, the haibane subtly but distinctly set themselves apart from their physical image and beatific attributes. Rakka with no former memory or traces of her past assumes her new role and life along with her new haibane family.
Although the story seems straightforward, it is equally deceptive because where Renmei lacks in a strict plot, it makes up for infinitely through its substantial style and themes. With that being said, it is important to note that this is a series that capitalizes on maturing with time, making it a slow ride thereby allowing the viewer to appreciate both the artistic and thematic merits that constitute the show. There aren’t any cheap thrills, gratuitous expositions, female and/or male exhibitionists servicing the fans, or flashy fights; rather it’s a simple tale to bring the viewer a thought-provoking and beguiling experience.
As aforementioned, the story is one that may seem simplistic, but under its “no-frills” veil, it’s a labyrinth coated with insightful and empathetic themes. The series is structured in a way that certain, obvious questions are raised. However, while the series provides perceptive themes, it does not supply many answers. Like a distant illusion, a hopeful mirage, the prospect of a potential resolution looms, but never fully manifests. While that can potentially turn away many viewers, this plays to the show’s strengths because it allows room for imagination and speculation while holding true to the essences of the series. Often times there are no answers and in a narrative based around some themes such as self discovery and self truths, churning out linear answers would be clearly unjustified and of poor taste.
"Haibane Renmei" is a tale that inquires, but doesn’t resolve; it’s not to patronize the viewer, but to enhance the experience by showing rather than telling: a technique that’s highly underrated because it’s often misused or overly-done to a point where it can seem conceited or forced. Through Rakka and her fellow haibane comrades, we get to embark on a very special journey; a journey about a once crest-fallen girl who awakens in foreign lands only to discover the greatest truth—one about herself. "Haibane Renmei" illustrates the importance self-discovery, friendship, forgiveness, guilt, salvation, and “truth” in a world shrouded in ambiguity. The haibane almost seem like a nostalgic metaphor, one that eerily resonates with the viewer. Frequently, the closest familiarity lies within the most strangest of places/individuals and through these bizarre encounters do we get the chance to really look into who we are and more importantly, understand who we are.
One of the strongest points of the show is the characters. The developing propinquity between the characters is depicted in a classy manner while also establishing memorable personalities amongst the cast. Most of the themes of the show are actualized within the interactions and through the wonderfully constructed dynamics between the close-knit haibane family, the true importance of relationships shine through with blinding effect. The notion of friendship is crafted with extreme care; it isn’t overdone nor is it overbearing to a point where it becomes a contrived plot-device. Rather, it’s there for a definitive purpose: to engage the themes of the show and direct the characters unto their respective paths while providing the viewer with a filling sense of empathy and endearment. The two main characters Rakka and Reki are idyllic in that sense because their dynamics as friends and individuals are done with principle and relevance rather than characteristics defined by formulaic absurdities that accompany “power of friendship”. Both girls struggle and continue doing so but how they cope with their struggle and try to manifest their true selves through their respective struggles is one of the greatest accomplishments of this series and rightfully so.
The art and music both compliment the series nicely. The characters are designed in a humble manner which can be off-putting to certain viewers, but in all reality, the character design fit well for the purposes of the show. The art is fluid. A soft, pastel palette is used to give life to the rustic town while contrasting with darker tones of blues and grays to maintain the melancholy that lingers throughout the series. There seems to be a misnomer regarding this show’s art coming off as ostentatious and obtuse which could be considered distasteful due to personal preferences but as a whole, the art is alluring, complimentary, and aesthetically appeasing.
The soundtrack is heavily composed of harmonious yet melancholic piano music accompanied by the lilting of a jubilant violin. Although, the soundtrack is sublime at parts, it isn’t a collective masterpiece or something that would compel the viewer to indulge in as a detached element of the show. Conclusively, artistically and musically Haibane Renmei does not disappoint and serves its intended function to augment the atmosphere and setting of the show.
Perhaps it should be noted that this series comes from the unconventional yet brilliant mind of Y.Abe who created works such as Texhnolyze and Lain. Whether that is appealing or detracting, it must be understood that Haibane diverges from the extremely dark and brooding presentation of the aforementioned but maintains the thematic and aesthetic segments exceptionally well, just as the other works by Abe. Consequently, if you’re fan or new to Abe’s works and yearn for something that’s delectably intriguing but its own, Haibane Renmei will fulfill every intended quota.
Haibane Renmei is truly an enchanting series that appeals to the viewer not just as a series to enjoy imminently, but one that forces introspective contemplation afterwards. Truths and answers about the world and self aren’t black and white, but similar to the haibane’s wings--tinted in shades of grey. Immerse yourself in the town of Glie and walk aside the haibane in a world that’s as strange as to you as it is to them; perhaps in the process, you’ll find your shade.
This is the most striking anime I've ever seen. The care and imagination that went into every aspect of the show is remarkable, but due to the slow, gentle nature of the series I wouldn't recommend it to everyone, if only because this isn't a typical anime in terms of plot. The suspense is subtle -- difficult to spot if you're watching it for the first time -- and builds up over half of the series. Haibane Renmei starts off languid and mysterious, and it tapers off just as languid and mysterious, and every episode seems to reveal more questions that never get answered. Even with the sudden spike in conflict later in the series, most of it is internal.
Don't be fooled by the angel-like appearance, by the way. Religion has nothing to do with this anime, and ABe has said before that it's a purely aesthetic choice, though some do feel that there's symbolism involved.
That said, it's provocative and heartbreaking and dreamlike. Pacing is slow, but expertly done. You'll find that one episode transitions easily into the next. And so much of the story is implied... as well as character backgrounds and the like.
Its art doesn't try to wow the viewer, and it seems content to just let the setting and soft colors and unique character designs speak for themselves. The backgrounds are gorgeous and detailed. Characters' personalities are mild and realistic; no character gets shoved into the standard archetypes you so often see in anime.
Also notable is the soundtrack. Every song fits the mood of Haibane Renmei perfectly -- especially notable (aside from the opening, "Free Bird," and ending theme "Blue Flow") are "Garasu no Yume," "Ailes Grises," "Starting of the World," and "A Little Plate's Rondo." Many of them feel like lullabies. Personally, the soundtrack is one of my favorite parts of this series, but looking at the other reviews, it looks like I'm the only one who finds it so breathtaking. Your mileage may vary.
It begins by letting the viewer into the peaceful simplicity of daily life in Glie, allowing insight into the setting and the minor characters, but it grows into a story about friendship and letting go and guilt and forgiving yourself and so much more. The climax of the story is likely to make you cry or cringe or suck in your breath -- maybe all three.
At times depressing and at times gently uplifting and feather-soft, Haibane Renmei is unparalleled in beauty, and I wouldn't hesitate to call it my favorite anime of all time. read more
While Haibane Renmei couldn't be more dissimilar, the concept of the characters being in a supposed afterlife or purgatory are both extremely integral to the setting. Although in Angel Beats!, it seems like they fear the next step and thus rebel in anyway to ensure they don't disappear. However, in Haibane Renmei, they do the exact opposite and are more resigned to their fate, and there is little conflict.
Similar premise, very different execution.. Haibane takes away the comedy, action and some cuteness factor in order to bring more deepness to the premise setting, but both anime can leave you wondering the same questions about life purpose, and death.
Similar in both is by accepting yourself(regret) or atone your sin of your past before death you will be free from that world. Born to other world where they had to do work and live on with other people a.k.a citizen of that world.
In both, people are born into another world after they die because of regrets from their life before and stuck there until they can get rid of their regrets and become at peace with themselves.
Angel Beats! and Haibane Renmei have similar concepts, as both are centered around characters who are in a purgatory-like setting. While Angel Beats! has more comedy and action, Haibane Renmei takes a much more serious tone, and also likes to leave things up to the viewer to interpret. Liking one of these shows does not necessarily mean you will like the other, but it is worth trying.
Haibane Renmei is Angel Beats! done right.
Imagine having found yourself, to an unknown world, as if a lucid daydream not to be awakened. The rejection and self-denial is nigh, as the individuals, Yuzuru and Rekka, slowly identify with their pasts and gradually accept the truth, within the labyrinth of both worlds, the "afterworld", and the real world. Haibane Renmei, an astute yet nostalgic series that carries an abstract, yet distinct air of suspense to it; Angel Beats, a fulfilling adventure in an alternative (afterlife) world to slowly depreciate and disintegrate as reality steps in. Both attempt to carry a complete and touching plot, with a natural flow in Haibane Renmei; while Angel Beats takes upon an aggressive, and relentless spirit towards the truth.
Both stories take place in an after life of some sort and has simmilar themes.
Haibane Renmei is more serious then Angel Beats, though.
Both anime explore the concept of "Afterlife", and features the characters being trapped in another world due to their regrets from their past lives. Both characters are required to find peace within themselves to be finally set free.
Haibane Renmei is much more serious and complex, while Angel Beats! is a lot more comedic and action-packed.
+ Different interpretations of the afterlife for a group of people who appear to be adolescents despite not being human
+ The wall in Haibane Renmei is similar to how the world just ends outside of the high school in Angel Beats!
- Angel Beats has action and much more vivid animation (granted it is 8 years younger) than Haibane Renmei which has a much calmer yet eerie atmosphere throughout the show
Both of these shows leave things open-ended, even after the end. If you're interested in thinking about the world that the characters live in when you watch anime, what important concepts are expressed in anime, or want to still think about a show long after it's over, these two shows work well. While they cover different ideas among those concepts, I feel they both cause similar responses.
Both are slow-paced, slice-of-life quiet shows with a lot of character development. Kino's Journey is more episodic, while Haibane Renmei has an over-arching plot.
Slow-paced story about life in a world different than ours. Both anime have the same light atmosphere.
Both are lyrical, soft, eccentric collections of stories about various philosophical observations. Kino is far more preachy and direct with its observations, but is ultimately no less beautiful.
Both Animes start quite slow, and carry on calm and relaxing, but have got a very deep meaning about them. As well, both have got a theme you could call "talk about philosophical life and meanings". A bit exaggerated, but they still definitely have got a special meaning. The Ending is quite open too, nothing really ever happens particular, but still both have got that little, special sparkle, that's rare to find in an anime.
same beautiful and philosophical plot
Both have a calm and slightly ominous atmosphere, make good use of muted colour palettes, and are chock full of metaphor. Kino no Tabi is episodic and more focused on giving a different message or making a different point each episode while Haibane Renmei is built around character interaction and drama.
I found these two series quite alike with their philosophical themes with an emotional story and an insightful main female protagonist. Although slow paced, both of their stories are intriguing and unique that explores subjects that can be emotional for viewers.
Both series also made me think about life and death occasionally that also deals with themes like redemption and forgiveness.
Both series takes an approach in a dream like environment with an insightful depth exploring questions that we often so much around the world. I also found two female protagonist in both series quite similar in several aspects especially in their independence and personalities.
Both series are quite beautiful as well that takes journey of its own.
Both anime have a very similar feel in terms of storytelling and both contain many philosophical and thoughtful undertones, like Kino's Journey Haibane Renmei is very unique and intelligent, and will make you think deeply after every episode. While the plot may be different at the core you will find many similarities, it is safe to say that if you enjoyed Kino's Journey you will definitely enjoy Haibane Renmei.
Opening Theme"Free Bird" by Kou Otani
Ending Theme"Blue Flow" by Heart of Air
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